Belgian National Income
During the Interwar Period
Reconstruction of the Database

By Stef Peeters, et al.
Studies in Social and Economic History, Vol. 27
December 2005
Leuven University Press
ISBN: 9058673499
421 pages, 6 ¼” x 9½”


Historical national accounting is nowadays recognized as an important field of research in economic history. Nevertheless the sub discipline also receives a lot of criticism. Several estimates would be based on shaky data material so that the outcome would in part reflect the personal opinion of those who produced the series.

Moreover in some publications the estimation methods are explained in the very vague terms thereby making a duplication of the results almost impossible. This book tries to remedy these critiques. The estimation procedures of the various components of Belgian national income between 1920 and 1939 are thoroughly discussed and explained.

The book also falsifies the proposition that “Belgium is a country without statistics.” There are many series available but they are scattered over many publications and therefore often difficult to find. One merit of this book is that it brings together quantitative material from very diverse sources and origins. Not only economic historians will benefit from the wealth of statistics presented here, but also e.g. social historians.

1. Pay of manual workers in the private sector.
2. Pay of white collar workers in the private sector.
3. Pay of domestic staff, border-workers, & seasonal workers.
4. Employers’ social security contributions.
5. Pay & pensions of government staff.
6. Income from paid employment.
7. Income from agriculture, horticulture, & forestry.
8. Income of the professions, independent traders, craftsmen & partnerships.
9. Interest payments to personal sector.
10. Rents (received & imputed) payable to private individuals.
11. Dividends, returns on investment abroad, bonuses & grants.
12. Reserved profits of corporations.
13. Direct taxation of companies.
14. Income from property.
15. Interest on the public debt.
16. Depreciation.
17. Indirect taxes & subsidies.

Conclusions. Annex. Bibliography.

Economic History

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